Fall Mushroom Harvest – Hen Of The Woods + Recipe

I love fall.  I love it for so many reasons; the cooling weather, the changing leaves, hoodies & bonfires, to name a few.  One of the other highlights of fall for me is mushroom hunting.  I found my first Hen of the Woods by accident about 6 years ago.  We were still building the cabin and I took the dogs out for a walk.  I came upon a giant bouquet of what I guessed to be Hen of the Woods at the base of a huge Oak tree .  I had heard of the mushroom but wasn’t positive that was what I was looking at.

Hen of the woods

After making sure of what it was, Nathan & I picked it.  We guessed it weighed at least 25 pounds.  Hen of the Woods are sometimes called sheep’s head, or ram’s head.  It’s Japanese name is maitake, which means “dancing mushroom”.  It is said that people would dance for joy upon finding one.  (Source)

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I have to admit, once I knew what it was I was pretty excited.  It’s possible I did dance for joy.

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Hen of the Woods is pretty easy to clean.  Although it can be pretty time consuming depending on how much of it you have.

Hen of the woods

The first step is to cut off the dirtiest part of the base with a knife.  From there you can either cut apart or pull apart some smaller sections to start cleaning.  From here, I usually just pull apart small chunks of the mushroom and rinse under the faucet.  Make sure to get the dirt off and any bugs that might be on it.  Discard any pieces that looks odd.  Sometimes I’ll find pieces with a little too much mold on them or that look a little too rotten.

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I like to keep mine in pieces about this size.  After washing them off, pat them dry with a paper towel and put into a plastic bag & leave the top open just enough to get some air in the bag.  They will stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.  The best part about these mushrooms is that they freeze so well.  I still have a baggie of them in my freezer from last fall that will still be good to cook.

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Unfortunately, I haven’t been lucky enough to find any Hen of the Woods this season. Thankfully, one of our good friends did and was nice enough to bring us a huge chunk a couple of nights ago.  I cleaned it up and put one bag in the freezer and decided to try some on a pizza tonight.  It turned out pretty delicious so I thought I’d share the recipe!

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Saving some greens…the plant & the paper kind!

I’m a big smoothie drinker.  I love to add a handful or 2 of spinach or kale to them for some extra nutrition.  I’m constantly buying those giant tubs of organic spinach from the grocery store whenever they’re available.  Lately they’ve started carrying big bags of organic kale, too.  I can’t resist buying them when I’m there b/c we live about 30 miles from anywhere that carries organic greens so I try not to make more trips than I have to.  I’ll be so excited when my garden (hopefully) starts producing some spinach & kale so I can save some trips to town and some moolah.  **Garden post coming soon!!**  Update! Find garden post HERE.

The only downside to buying so many greens is that sometimes I can’t eat them before they start to go bad.  Luckily, I found a great way to solve this problemo!  And it is so easy.  All you will need is:

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My Favorite Green Juice Recipe

I’m a big time smoothie drinker.  I drink one nearly every morning for breakfast and usually after a workout.  As much as I love smoothies, I like to switch it up every once in a while and throw a green juice into the mix.  They make me feel super energized.  Not the jittery kind of energy, like when you drink a little too much coffee either.  It’s more like a refreshing, restorative kind of energy.  If that makes any sense.  It’s hard to explain.  You’ll just have to try it yourself!

We’ll start with the juicer I use.  The first juicer I bought was a Juiceman.  This juicer works great if you’re only making a small amount of juice.  I used it for about 3 years before I decided to buy one that could hold more pulp/produce more juice in one use.  There just isn’t much room for pulp in the Juiceman and I basically got tired of cleaning it out so much.  It served me well for the time and I had it and it still worked great when I passed it on to the next owner.

After quite a bit of research, I decided to fork over some extra cash and get a Breville Juicer.  I ❤ it.  It makes so much more juice and is so easy to clean.  I’ve had it for a couple of years now and have no complaints.  If you need some help deciding what juicer to buy I definitely recommend checking out Kris Carr’s blog post here.  And while you’re there, check out her entire site too!  She is one of my favorites.

Onto the juice!

I like this recipe because there are only 4 ingredients involved and it tastes so good.  Here’s what you’ll need:

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